Egg-cellent springtime activities

Parents School Holidays
20 February 2020
We’ve found four cracking experiments to amuse and amaze this spring — perfect to do at home with the family!

1. Egg catwalk

You will need:
  • Large piece of plastic or old sheets
  • 8 boxes of 12 raw eggs — depending how long or short you want your egg walk to be
What you do:

Lay out your plastic mat and make two rows of eggs, setting them out lengthways with the lids open or removed, to create a runway to walk along.

Explain to everyone taking part that they’re going to attempt to walk barefoot along the eggs without breaking them.

Ask what happens when a hen sits on her eggs and explain that because she applies an even pressure, her eggs don’t break.

Ask what they think will happen when they walk on the eggs.

Tell the children to keep their feet flat and not push down on their heels, then help the children one by one onto the eggs and watch their faces as they walk along the path of eggs.

The science bit:

Eggs have a domed or arched shape, this distributes the pressure making the egg strong despite being thin and appearing delicate.

Parentkind tip: This is a great challenge to run at an Easter fair. Present each child with a certificate for taking part. Include an explanation of the science behind it, or some more experiments to do at home on the back.

2. Rainbow rubber eggs 

You will need:
  • Raw eggs
  • Different food colours
  • Clear vinegar
  • Cups
What you do:

Put each egg in to a cup, fill with vinegar then add a few drops of one food colour to each.

Leave the eggs for 5 days, the shells will gradually break down.

Gently rub away the crumbly shells to reveal your brightly coloured rubber’ eggs.

Gently bounce your eggs from about 20cm – the key word here is gently. They’re not indestructible, but that’s part of the fun!

The science bit:

The vinegar is a weak acid that dissolves the shell. The egg is unaffected because it has a strong semi-permeable membrane around it, allowing osmosis to take place while remaining raw and shell-less.

3. Egg decorating

You will need:
  • White hard boiled eggs
  • Coloured crayons
  • Food colouring
  • Clear vinegar
  • Cups or jars big enough to dip the eggs in (enough for each of your food colours)
What you do:

Draw patterns on the eggs with crayon – keep the eggs warm so the crayon softens slightly when it comes into contact with the egg.

Next roughly half fill your cups or jars with hot water, then add a few drops of food dye and a tablespoon of vinegar.

Dip your eggs in the dye, leave them until the shell begins to colour then remove, drip dry and admire your creations!

The science bit:

Watch the bubbles form on the egg surface as the acetic acid in the vinegar reacts to the calcium carbonate in the egg shells.

4. Silver egg illusion

You will need:
  • An egg
  • A glass jar
  • A candle (and matches)
  • Tongs
What you do:

Using tongs, carefully hold the egg over the candle flame until it is covered in soot and completely black.

Gently lower the egg into water and be amazed as it appears to change from black to silver.

The science bit:

The soot particles are hydrophobic, so only the top part of the soot will be wet. The surface tension supports the water in between each grain of soot, and a layer of air between the water and the soot forms. Because the surface of the water reflects light, the egg appears to have become silver.